Climate Impacts and Risk Assessment

 ©Bertknot, CC BY-SA 2.0
©Bertknot, CC BY-SA 2.0

Our work focuses on understanding the effects of climate change on livelihood realities and development perspectives of especially vulnerable population groups. Impact and vulnerability assessments provide an important basis for the identification of adaptation requirements as well as analyses of loss and damage. Through assessing the implications of impacts at different levels of warming, we gain a better understanding of the implications of different emission pathways. SIDS and LDCs face particularly great challenges. Their physical exposure and the limited number of available adaptation options as well as adaptive capacity are key determinants of their vulnerability.

Publications

Climate change will be the greatest threat to humanity and global ecosystems in the coming years, and there is a pressing need to understand and communicate the impacts of warming, across the perspectives of the natural and social sciences. Hoegh-Guldberg et al. review the climate change–impact literature, expanding on the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They provide evidence of the impacts of warming at 1°, 1.5°, and 2°C—and higher—for the physical system, ecosystems, agriculture, and human livelihoods. The benefits of limiting climate change to no more than 1.5°C above preindustrial levels would outweigh the costs.  
Highly seasonal water supplies from the Himalayan watersheds of Jhelum, Kabul and upper Indus basin are critical for managing the world's largest contiguous irrigation system of the Indus basin and its dependent agrarian economy of Pakistan. Here, we assess changes in the contrasting hydrological regimes of these Himalayan watersheds, and subsequent water availability under the Paris Agreement 2015 targets that aim of limiting the mean global warming to 1.5 °C, and further, well below 2.0 °C relative to pre-industrial levels.  
This article contains the review of scientific evidence of regional differences in climate hazards at 1.5°C and 2°C and provides an assessment of selected hotspots of climate change, including small islands as well as rural, urban, and coastal areas in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, that are particularly affected by the additional 0.5°C global mean temperature increase.  
To support implementation of the Paris Agreement, the new HAPPI ensemble of 20 bias-corrected simulations of four climate models was used to drive two global hydrological models in worlds approximately 1.5 °C and 2 °C warmer than pre-industrial. Seven hydrological hazard indicators were analysed characterizing freshwater-related hazards for humans, freshwater biota and vegetation. The findings show that areas with either significantly wetter or drier conditions are smaller in the 1.5 °C world for all but one indicator. The incremental impact between 1.5 °C and 2 °C on high flows would be felt most by low income and lower middle income countries, the effect on soil moisture and low flows most by high income countries.  

Projects

IMPACT is a cross-cutting, multi-faceted project that aims to strengthen the connections between the scientific assessments of climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to help enable access to finance and help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) implement concrete projects.  
This project provides francophone Least Developed Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with science-based support when formulating their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). In addition, it will give these countries access to international climate finance and establish national, international and regional platforms to share knowledge and experiences.    
The EmBARK-project investigates time scales and possible trajectories of socio-economic transformation processes and analyse their relevance as potential barriers to adaptation to climate change. An improved understanding of the temporal dynamics of such barriers is key in developing a more realistic understanding of future climate impacts and for scientifically robust assessment of future climate related loss and damage.  
The "Climate Action Tracker" is an independent science-based assessment, which tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries.  
The Caribbean region is highly exposed to tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, and naturally induced disasters. These hazards represent a significant risk to the inhabitants and economies of the Caribbean countries. The Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean (CRAIC) project assists Caribbean countries in their efforts to increase social resilience and adapt to climate change by incorporating climate risk insurance within a broader framework of disaster risk reduction strategies.  
SLICE is investigating Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Climate Extremes and aims to develop a systematic understanding of the channels through which climate extremes impact socio-economic development all the way from the household to the macroeconomic level. This will help developing effective strategies for long-term economic development under climate change.